What can we call ourselves besides aunt and uncle?

October 21 2011 | Guest post by Laura
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My brother and I both agree that the term "Uncle" is just plain boring, and does not sound all that appealing. I also am not all that interested in ever being an "Aunt." I have tried to do research on other endearing terms aunt and uncle alternatives (and not foreign language names that mean "Uncle" and "Aunt"), but cannot seem to find anything.

What do you call yourself if you are an "Aunt" or an "Uncle," or what do you call your relatives who fit this role, but not this name? — Laura

    • I tried so hard to be an Aunt Allison, but it sounds so wrong, with the 2 As, and my name is already hard for kids to say. So we tried Tia Allison, but in the end, I'm just Allison.

    • Funny you should say this. When my brother and I were young my Aunt and Uncle (my dad's sister and her husband) were Auntie Debbie and Uncle Ronnie. Then it became Aunt Debbie and Uncle Ronnie. Then around 13 yrs old (and my brother was around 12) my Aunt said, "You can start calling me Debbie." It took me a bit to stop saying it (she said it made her sound old). Fast forward, my husband asked one day why I just Debbie and Ron instead of Aunt and Uncle as he thought it was odd (so I explained why). The only people I still called anything formal after that was my Grandma (fathers mother) and Grandpa (Mother's father), and my Uncle's parents. That was more out of respect (not that I don't respect my Aunt and Uncle and other senior members of my family (older cousins separated by a generation gap), but for some reason to me Grandparents need to be called Grandpa and Grandma (or what you call your Granny/grandma/mimi, etc)).

  1. There are the diminutives auntie and unky, but those aren't much help. My brothers have taught their kids to call me Diana, but I don't know how to enforce encourage a title. But if you don't like the title, there's no reason you need one.

    As an aside, I HATE when people call me Di, at work it's either Diana or just D, but for some reason, I love the way Auntie Di sounds, and if I could, that is what my nieces and nephews would call me.

  2. My nephews call me Aunt Lala or just Lala as they get older. It was coined by my brother and sister-in-law and now my whole family and friends just call me Lala as a nickname. I wasn't sure how I felt about it at the beginning but then I quickly realized something – Lala is really easy for babies to learn to say so they could call me by name way before any of the other family members. 🙂

    • I named my Aunt Laura "Lala" as well when I was little and 30+ years later that's what everyone calls her (all the nieces, nephews, our friends and even a bunch of grownups who were introduced to her as Lala instead of Laura, haha…) And most of the time its not "Auntie Lala" anymore, just Lala. 😉 So you've got a good name there!

    • I call my grandmother Lala (Filipino for grandmother), but the aunts and uncles have a unique tradition in my family. When one of my older cousins was little he thought you had to say "Oh" before addressing someone to be polite, so he would walk up to his aunts and uncles and say "Oh Derek?" etc. Now all the aunts and uncles, even the in-laws, are O'name. I look forward to being O'Mary someday!

  3. My best friend and I used to play roller derby. My "derby name"-Slaughter-Kinney, is not super child friendly. She doesn't want her 2 year old talking about "slaughter" this and that at daycare. So, I'm Auntie Otter. However, Persephone (the 2 year old) has decided that I will now be known as "Tee-Tee". We think she has adapted Auntie to Tee-Tee.

    Some kids will just make up a name for you!

  4. My niece has always just called me Beezy (my nickname) and my husband Matt. We never really found any need for her to call us Aunt or Uncle…it's not like we call her Niece. But we are really super close. I probably never would have felt comfortable just calling my aunt and uncle by their names because I was never really that close to them, and Aunt Blank and Uncle Blank sounds more formal.

  5. My daughter calls her Aunt Sam Sam. She came up with it on her own. One of my close friend's nephews call her Kakie as her name is Katie and when they were small they pronounced it that way and it stuck. Often times it seems kids come up with there own names for aunts and uncles.

    • My sister Kelli was christened Kakie by our triplet brother and sisters when they were toddlers. They are 13 and still call her that occasionally!

  6. We often use the Aunt or Uncle but then replace the name with whatever the baby/child called that person, which comes out pretty funny and cute at times. My name is Brooke and and my nieces still use their baby talk name, "Grookie", for me as a pet name/term of endearment. My grandmother went by Mommom because that's what the first grandchild called her, etc.

  7. My husband loves being an Uncle. He thinks it's super cute when his nephew comes a running yelling, "UNCLE RYAAAN!" I do not really have a name with the nephew, as I think he's a little shy around women, plus my name is hard for a 3 year old to pronounce. The parents call me Auntie Lauren, hoping it catches on (he has said it a couple of times)…but I'm not wild about it. "Auntie" makes me sound like I'm 62. If he ends up calling me that, I'm fine…but it would be awesome if he came up with (or everyone came up with) a super-cute nickname for me. I love the above commenters nickname of "Lala".

    In my family, we switch titles around often. We'll go between saying "Aunt So-and-so" to their actual name. However, I do call my aunt from the other side of the family "AW" or "A-dubs", which is short for "Auntie Wendy".

    I think if you're not wild about the "Aunt" or "Uncle" title. Ask the parents to help you come up with something more suitable. They may have creative suggestions. It could be a play on your real name, or something endearing like "Bunny" (everyone calls my mom's friend's mother "Bunny", including her daughter).

    I also always thought "Oji" and "Oba" were cute. They are the informal Japanese word for "Uncle" and "Aunt" respectively.

  8. My kids refer to my big sister and her husband as Weird Uncle Tim and The AuntieChrist. They mean this with love, and the nicknames were created by my brother-in-law himself!

    • My sister is "Anti-Rachel" to her god children and our niece. It's hilarious, because people try to correct the kids. "no, sweetie, it's Auntie, with an 'e'." and the kids just blow them off.

  9. My mom is Chinese so I called her brother (my uncle) "Jojo" (the spelling is hard since it's Chinese but I'll just write them exactly how they sound). Her older brother is "Da-jojo" and her younger brother is "shou-jojo" (shou rhymes with how).

    She didn't have any sisters but a lot of my Chinese friends tell their kids to refer to me as "ayi" (sounds like ah-eee).

    On my dad's side, we didn't really see the family much but when we did, I called his brother Uncle and his wife Auntie.

    • I'll be using "Ayi" (female) and "Shu Shu" (male) too. Though I'm not ethnically Chinese and I have no siblings, my husband and I did live in China for ages and the appellations Ayi and Shu Shu have the added benefit of not having to be blood relatives. Specifically, the two girls that stood with me as bridesmaids during my wedding will be Ev Ayi and Gemma Ayi (the honorific is added after the name for both words, if it's added at all). It's a way to acknowledge a family of choice, and not just by relation. It's also a nice nod to both of those ladies who both speak and appreciate Chinese. They'll both be the most fantastic Ayi's ever.

      My husband's only sister on the other hand will likely remain "Aunt," based on her preference.

    • My family uses a few native terms for aunt, uncle and grandpa.. Aunt=chewy like chewbacca!:) Uncle = dega (day guh) grandpa = choka (choke uh).
      We also call my great aunt just Aunt Cissy which stemmed from all HER brothers and sisters (my grandpa etc) calling her Sissy. I don't think I could ever call her Aunt Wildine.

  10. When my brother got married his 11 year old stepson decided he couldn't call my boyfriend Uncle. So, since M had just died his hair black (and it looked bad…), my nephew decided to call him Skunkle. It stuck, and now all of us are Skunkles and Scaunts.

  11. I call my aunts and uncles by only their first names. It used to irk some of them, but they got over it. How about Captain? "Captain Jane, can we go out and play?" Or some variation of your first/middle name? My paternal grandmother we called Mimi, which was her idea because she couldn't bear being called Grandma (think a very short, but regal and kind Spanish grandmother). My other grandmother we call Mémé, which is French.

    There's all sorts of nicknames you could use!

  12. In both my family and my circle of friends, children do NOT call adults by their first name only. It's just not done – it's a cultural thing, both European and Asian. Adults that are close are called Aunt and Uncle. It's a sign of both love and respect. And for a bunch of first-generation Americans, a way to create an extended family.

    But if this doesn't float your boat, I don't see why you couldn't just go by your first names. All the teachers at my niece's school go by Miss First-Name, so there's always that.

    • When my Aunt remarried, she married a very traditional Samoan gentleman, and I did not meet him right away as I was a 25 year old adult with my own life. My cousin, who is also an adult, made the mistake of calling him by just his first name, and he was very unhappy with her. Luckily, (though it was strange to me, since I call my aunt by her first name alone), I had her lesson to learn by and have always addressed him with the uncle title, and he has always been very warm and supportive of me.

      I'm an only child, so in my family, being called Auntie Ashley is something I'm very proud of. It means that my cousins love me like a sister, and my kids like first cousins, instead of the distance that many families have. My ex, however, loathes being called Uncle Rich by even his own nephews/nieces as it sounds like a creeper name to him.

  13. My sister-in-law's sister is Kim, and I'm Katie, so when our nieces began talking, we became KiKi and KayKay. Now all the kids on both sides of the family call me KayKay. On my husband's side, the kids are half-Filipino and call us Tito and Tita. However, my husband's brother often calls him "Uncle Tito," which translates as "uncle uncle."

    • I also like Tito and Tita since these titles are also used to give honor to any adult a child feels close to, and I am very big on "chosen family." 🙂

  14. my stepkids call my parents Miss Heather and Mr Walt. i love it. its formal enough to establish authority but not stuffy. I once dated a guy who's niece and nephews called him Gunkle. thte whole family started calling him that. It was cute. My cousin called my sister Kubby instead of Kelly and that stuck too.

  15. A dear friend's nephew calls her Aunt Muppet (she's got bright colored fluffy mohawk hair, it's very muppet-like). I work at the school he attends so instead of Miss Jessi, like the rest of the kids, he calls me Mrs. Muppet (I also have fluffy colorful hair). It's one of my favorite pet names.

    My whole family calls me Roo- my sister started it when I was a baby. So my only niece calls me Auntie Roo. It's adorable.

    I always called my aunts and uncles "Aunt_____/Uncle_____" until I was about 9. Now they're just first names.

    • And the same niece calls me husband "Uncle". Which is hilarious to me, because she has a half dozen various uncles. She might call him Adam to clarify, but mostly, just Uncle.

  16. We have a few friends who are honorary aunts and uncles to our kids. One friend of ours decided to be known as Aunt Banana. My partner who is genderqueer and doesn't feel adequately described by aunt or uncle is called "Choochie" by a niece. It evolved from the "choochie face" song my partner's family members used to sing when they were kids. Our kids called my partner Duda which evolved from something silly between us. Anyway, just play with sounds and words you like and make something up.

  17. In Spanish, Tia is officially aunt, but that is the name we use in my family for my mom and dad's aunts. MY aunts are Titi (tee-tee). Now that I have a nephew, I'm Titi Ale' and my (very Caucasian) husband is Tio 🙂

    • My sister's nickname is "T," so it seemed very natural for my daughter to call her "tia." My sister's daughter calls me "ti-ti." 🙂

      We're from the south, so we grew up calling everyone "aunt" and "uncle."

  18. My husbands nephew Ryan calls him Uncle Dood, because my husband would always say to Ryan, "What's up, Dude?" I don't think Ryan knows my husbands real name! haha. Ryan calls me Set, because his mom's pet name for me is Setters.

    Growing up I called my aunts Tia (I'm Mexican) and my mom's funniest story is when I was little I asked why we called my Tia Lupe, Tortilla. hahah!

  19. My names stephanie but my" niece" (my best friends little girl) calls me aunt stessy. When she first started saying my name it came out aunt sexy so for about 6 months i was referred to as aunt sexy whenever they were around.

  20. We call my child's grandparents "Gigi", like Gigi John and Gigi Ava. We call the aunts and uncles, and really all of our friends, "Titi" (said teetee), like Titi Ryan and Titi Helena.
    We wanted gender-neutral names and came up with Titi because of the Spanish words Tio/Tia. Gigi just sounded cute.

  21. When my nephew was born my sister started calling me Tante (pronounced tunta). It's German for aunt. It's a nickname that has stuck for 8 years!!

  22. It depends on the person really, so go with what ever you're comfortable with. I go by my first name or by my nickname to almost everyone regardless of age because I believe that respect is conveyed best by tone rather than title. Our girls call our friends by title + modified first name because they like doing it that way. My best friend is now 'Aunty Essey-Jay' and her fiance is 'Uncle Nymon', my sister is Aunty Kitty, and my brother-in-law is 'Uncle Markie' which is very special to us as that was part of his childhood nickname that their (deceased) cousin gave him and he won't let anyone else use it.

  23. Aunts and uncles don't necessarily need to be gender specific either. I have been "uncle Jess" for over 4 years now and I wouldn't change it for the world. It all started when my now husband handed his sister's day old daughter to me and said " here, go see uncle Jessie, I mean auntie Jessie." his sister and I just looked at each other and said " nope, uncle it is". My side still calls me aunt but there's something to be said about being a lady uncle. I sort of love it. My husband and his sisters also have an uncle who is a woman so it has become this awesome generational family thing. Also, it's pretty spectacular seeing what kids just come up with on their own and what sticks just on a weird fluke. The right name will find you.

  24. It's fairly common in my neck of the woods to call any close family or friend Aunty, considered almost a respect thing that the child/or parent considers you close enough to call you that. The godbabies used to call me Utty Jen when Aunty was too hard to pronounce, and now occasionally I get Aunty Bob, a nickname their Poua (maori for grandfather) gave me led to some confusion over my gender 🙂

    • I am Māori, from Taupo (Ngati Tūeharetoa) and we call grandfather Koro. I have never heard of Poua! What part of NZ is this from?

  25. Our family has always just been a first name thing with Aunty and Uncle used if needed (ie my Aunty, Toni)

    but when my sister had her daugher she thought it would be hilarious to get her to cally me by a very old child hood nickname – Pooh.

    So I have been Aunty Pooh for over 6 years now and all the others kids of the family also cal me that every so often. All other aunts and uncles are simply called by their name or nick name (eg my husband is Gray man, not graham)

    I fully intend for my sister to suffer karma and be an Aunty Sissy one day… but …

    all in all – I think blood relatives are cool to be called by their names, Not people I know who are Aunty this or Uncle that are'nt blood rellies and are trying to make.concrete the relationship IMO

  26. Well, my brother is "Moonie." He came by this because my daughters middle name is Starshine, and he joked about being Moonshine. But, my daughter at a young age shortened it to Moonie. His wife is Nonna, which is the 3 year old equivalent for her name Donna. 🙂

  27. Something fun would be A-name or U-name. Kind of like P-Diddy. My brother, who is husky and furry (not a dog), is known as my niece's Fairy Godfather. My sister is sometimes called Auntie Favorite.
    I prefer to be called Auntie Ann beacuse it makes me think of "Auntie Em! Auntie Em!"

    • My aunt (father's sister) was my godmother, and her husband is a very tall, loud, broad and hairy (looong beard – think gandalf the grey) British professor. after she passed away, her husband – my uncle – wanted to take over that role (i was still only 10 at the time) and he became known as my 'furry godmother' this has still stuck to this day – even to the point that the name on his placecard at my wedding was 'furry godmother'…

  28. In Arabic, uncle is "Amo" (pronounced "ah-mo" or "uhm-o") which is what our nephew calls my husband. Aunt is just auntie, which is boring. But our nephew said "Amo Jase" (uncle Jason) before he even said Mama! Easy for kids.

  29. I have been struggling with this too. My entire generation on my dad's side of the family is VERY socially conscious–lots of non-monogamous and LGB relationships going on. No gender identity differences in the family yet, but more than anything I would like a not-gender-specific thing that my (future) kids can call my brother/SIL as well as cousins in the same generation (growing up those cousins of my parents were aunt/uncle so and so, but once we were in high school that sort of got dropped or switched to "cousin so-and-so" when a describing relationship was required.)

    I'm really struggling to find a term of endearment and respect that can be used for older family members outside of grandparents. Preferably two terms, so that we can differentiate between people of my generation and older ones or people who are technically unrelated such as my SIL's parents who have been parents to me since middle school.

  30. I agree with those saying the kids will make it up on their own. My cousin's daughter calls my other cousins Aunt & Uncle, and I'm "Marybug"

    My first niece was born 4 years ago & she started calling me "Meme" when she couldn't pronounce my name, I loved it immediately. Now, it's even more special to me because I'm a fulltime Meme of 3, basically acting as Mommy while helping my parents who are adopting all 3 kids. They have many Aunts & a few Uncles who are close friends and family members, and it's a term of endearment & respect, but none of them are involved in the kids' lives as I am. And when ever some super awesome ididot remarks that I'm "just an aunt" my niece reminds them, "No, that's my Meme!"

  31. For my niece, I requested I be called "Chuchie". It is polish for aunt and while I am not polish, nor is the child, I love the way it sounds. Its a bit more personal. My husband goes by "Uncle B" for Brent. Chuchie has such a cute ring to it and it just seemed to fit perfectly!

  32. My family mostly uses aunt/uncle or auntie or nina/nino. We have an "Aunt Ester" which sounds totally … aged. And we have "Auntie Nell" (for my sister, younger than me, without children, which was a nickname I created for her as a baby) and a "Knuckle Dane" just because my son couldn't say "uncle" without the "n". Both aunt/uncle are totally fine with their names. The "nino/nina" is usually reserved for god-parents, which isn't religiously applicable to our family anymore.

  33. Love this article! When my sister was pregnant with her first we decided that "Aunt" just wasn't……right. So I decided the Yiddish "tanta" or "tantale" sounded much better and now both my sister and I are Tanta. In fact, my friends love it so much that my son has 3 Tantas now.

  34. My son has a special name for my sister — I was trying to teach him "Auntie V" which he turned into TV lol.

    You could always go with some kind of nickname. For example, my friend's mom is Bugsy to her grandkids.

  35. We have Aunts and Uncles (Aunt Sarah, Uncle August, etc) but we also use Miss and Mister for a lot of people, young and old. That said, these apply to our friends-family, as opposed to our blood-family. I think we're still using aunt and uncle on that front, but it might be to send the message that our family is just a family, not full of steps- and halfs-.

  36. Our kids refer to my step father-in-laws girlfriend (did you follow that?) as Lolly. Which is the shortened form of 'Loud Lady'. (The adults created this before any of the kids could even talk) The origin was an inside joke for a while (she just has one of those voices) – but she now knows where it came from and thinks it's funny 🙂

    I personally like pet forms of names. My brother has always been 'Joshy' to little kids and me 'Jily'. His daughter calls me Aunt Jily.

  37. I will ten thousandth this, but I've always called my aunts and uncles by their first names. I've talked to my sister about what her kids will call me someday and we haven't decided on anything but it will probably be some derivative of what she called me growing up — sissy. So maybe like everyone else said — use a nickname or a name they called you when they were young.

  38. When my fella was little, he couldn't manage to say "Aunt Aleta" very well for his great aunt. His attempts eventually ended up being "TT (Tee TEE)" which is what nearly everyone, including me, his mom, and his grandmother calls her.

  39. I'm known as Auntie-G or Chatcha (Anglo spelling of the Russian word for Aunt– actually spelled t-e-t-backwards r.)

  40. I am Māori so it is a very high honour to be called Aunty or Uncle, especially when youre not blood related (as I think a previous commenter pointed out). I call my Uncle (my Mums brother) Uncle Weewee when I was a kid because I couldnt get my tongue around Stephen. My maternal grandparents are Nanny and Koro. My cousins grandfather wanted to be called Grandpops but when he was little, my cousin Robbie called him Bobops instead and it stuck! I love pet names and names stemming from kids mispronunciation ❤️❤️❤️

  41. My niece calls me "dragon" since she was little cause that's what she could form when she was told I was aunt Megan. Sometimes the best alternatives come from the kids themselves!

  42. My niece calls me Mama T or my first name. She accidentally called me mama a few times and it just kinda stuck, we just added my first initial. My sister in law doesn't mind it at all. My kids call their aunts and uncles by first names or nicknames they already had, before being aunts/uncles.

    If any other nieces and nephews come along, I don't know what they'll call me. I've allways called my aunts and uncles 'aunt firstname' and 'uncle firstname'.

  43. The names that my children call my immediate family are . . .
    My mom – “Nana”
    My dad – “PawPaw”
    My step-dad – “Papa”
    I also have two younger sisters— one they call “Mimi”, and the other they call “Aunt B” (they use the initial of her first name)

  44. Everyone in our family has nicknames. For example: Grandpa is pop pop, grandma is grammie, Aunt Michelle is Aunty Shelly, Aunt Lori is Oli, Uncle Louis is Gouie and Aunt Victoria is Gicki. So I guess it all depends on the family?

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